Clean, locally-produced energy fuels Greenlandic election campaign

Inuit Atagatigiit party bets on hydrogen to increase independence from Denmark


Clean energy was among the issues raised during the campaign leading to Greenland’s Tuesday election of a new government.

The left-leaning Inuit Ataqatigiit party promoted the economic possibilities attached to increased hydro-electric and hydrogen fuel development: these could give Greenland the financial boost it needs to become self-sufficient and more independent from Denmark.

This message was spelled out in IA’s striking, red party platform book, which devoted two pages to Greenland’s hydro-electric potential. It also explained in Danish and Greenlandic how water is broken down into hydrogen and water and what this process will mean for Greenland.

“For Greenland, it’s exciting. It will be a big step if we start production of hydrogen,” said IA’s chairman, Josef Motzfeldt.

Motzfeldt, who is affectionately known as “Tuusi” by Greenlanders, recently attended a meeting of the Nordic Council in Reykjavik, Iceland, where, as vice-premier of Greenland’s former coalition government, he spoke about IA’s vision for Greenland.

“Our objectives are clear. We want economic progress, which will support our ambitions for a financially self-sufficient Greenland. A crucial precondition to achieve this goal is that we must significantly increase the competencies and educational level of our people,” Motzfledt told the council.

Motzfeldt wants the home rule government’s powers to grow as his party lobbies more self-determination for Greenland. But he said this will be “within Denmark because most of the people in Greenland have told us they’re not ready to make a sovereign Greenland yet.”

Motzfeldt said IA plans to push for more structural reforms for Greenland’s government.

“We took all the departments from the Danish government since 1979, and we have been following the same system,” he said. “Now we have started reforms.”

Motzfeldt said another priority of an IA government would be to strengthen Nordic cooperation and try to work more closely with the Government of Nunavut, which he said has so far not shown too much interest in joining in the council’s “West Nordic” projects.

“I have been talking with representatives of the Nunavut government, but they think it’s so far away,” Motzfeldt said. “I think someday it would be good for us to have a link in the Nordic Council between Greenland and Nunavut because we could bring out our agenda through the Nordic Council on Arctic questions.”

A controversial IA plan involves reducing the number of communities in Greenland to cut down on government spending.

To fully realize these ambitions, IA campaigned hard to win nine seats in Tuesday’s election.

“Since Home Rule was established, there have been eight elections to the parliament, and we’ve had eight seats, but now we want one more,” Motzfeldt said in the lead-up to the election.

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